CONFLICT OF COMMITMENT AND OUTSIDE PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES FAQ’s
(for Faculty Not Participating in a Health Sciences Compensation Plan (HSCP))
Synopsis of Academic Personnel Manual Section 025
Category I Prior Approval Request - Complete and submit through UC OATS
Annual Report of OPA - Complete and submit request through UC OATS
1. What is Conflict of Commitment?
UC faculty members owe their primary professional allegiance to the University and accept as their own the University’s responsibilities to advance and communicate knowledge. Conflict of commitment occurs when a faculty member engages in outside professional activities that interfere with that faculty member’s professional obligations to the University. In addition to advancing and transmitting knowledge, these professional obligations include maintaining a significant presence on campus, meeting classes, keeping office hours, holding examinations as scheduled, being accessible to students and staff, being available to interact with University colleagues, and sharing service responsibilities throughout every quarter or semester of active service.
2. What is the difference between Conflict of Commitment and Conflict of Interest?
A conflict of Interest occurs when a faculty member, with a financial or personal interest in the outcome, makes or influences a decision regarding use of University resources including property, funds, time and personnel. Outside Professional Activities may or may not create a financial interest that in turn gives rise to a conflict of interest. See https://audit.ucla.edu/resources/policies-handbooks
3. Why is a Conflict of Commitment Policy necessary?
This policy seeks to balance competing University obligations in the context of a faculty member’s professional discretion in allocating time and effort across multiple activities.
4. Where can I find the UC Policy on Conflict of Commitment?
The policy can be found in the Academic Personnel Manual, Section APM 025
For faculty participating in a Health Sciences Compensation Plan, Conflict of Commitment Policy can be found in APM 671 at http://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/apm/apm-671.pdf.
WHO IS COVERED
5. Which academic appointees are subject to the Conflict of Commitment Policy?
All faculty, including faculty administrators, holding appointments in the following series are subject to this policy:
Professor, including Acting Titles
Professor of Clinical (e.g., Medicine)
Health Sciences Clinical Professor
Clinical Professor of Dentistry
Lecturer or Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment
Lecturer with Potential Security of Employment
except, faculty participating in the Health Sciences Compensation Plan are subject to APM 671 and are not subject to APM 025, effective July 1, 2015.
6. Are faculty on some kind of leave, Recalled Emeritus faculty, and faculty with appointments below 50% covered by this policy?
- Recalled Emeritus faculty, faculty with appointments below 50%, and faculty (with fiscal year appointments) while on approved vacation are not subject to this policy, except that these faculty must:
b) obtain permission of their chair to involve a student in Category I & II Activities.
- Faculty on Sabbatical or other Leaves With Pay are subject to this policy. To the extent foreseeable, sabbatical proposals and requests for other leaves should, if relevant, discuss application of this policy to planned activities during the leave. See APM 740-18-c and -19 at http://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/apm/apm-740.pdf
- Faculty on an approved Leave Without Pay are subject to this policy, except the time limits on outside activities in APM 025-8-b. Approval of the leave normally constitutes compliance with this policy, so long as during the leave the faculty member acts in a manner consistent with the requested leave. If a faculty member involves a student in activities while on leave without pay, the requirements in Question 17 must be satisfied.
WHAT IS REQUIRED OF COVERED FACULTY
7. What are the obligations of faculty covered by this policy?
The following are faculty members' obligations:
- Fulfilling University responsibilities without interference from outside activities.
- Spending no more than 39 days (for Academic Year appointees) or 48 days (for Fiscal Year appointees) on Category I & II outside professional activities (and for Academic Year appointees, no more than one day per week during the summer when receiving University summer compensation).
- Filing an annual report of all Category I & II Outside Professional Activities whether or not the faculty member engaged in such activities.
- Obtaining prior approval before engaging in Category I Outside Professional Activities (see below).
- Obtaining prior approval for involvement of a student in Outside Professional Activities. See question 17.
FOR DEFINITIONS OF CATEGORY I, II, & III, SEE QUESTION 11 BELOW
8. What is an Outside Professional Activity?
Outside Professional Activities are activities, within a faculty member’s area of professional, academic expertise, that advance or communicate that expertise through interaction with commercial activities, the community, or the public. This includes “Additional Teaching” as described in APM 025-10-a-2(a). Outside Professional Activities are distinct from non-professional activities, which are part of the faculty member’s private life; such activities are not expressly governed by University regulations, provided they do not interfere with the performance of the faculty member’s professional obligations to the University.
9. Does this policy regulate uncompensated Outside Professional Activity?
Yes. This policy applies to Outside Professional Activities, whether financially compensated or not.
DISTINGUISHING CATEGORY I, II & III ACTIVITIES & OBLIGATIONS
10. What are the definitions of Category I, II, & III Activities?
This policy divides Outside Professional Activities into three categories. Category I consists of demanding Outside Professional Activities that are most likely to create a Conflict of Commitment. Category II consists of shorter term or less demanding Outside Professional Activities that are less likely to create a conflict of commitment. Category III consists of all other Outside Professional Activities. Different requirements are associated with each of these categories. For more detail see Questions 14-16.
11. What are the requirements associated with Categories I, II & III?
- Categories I, II & III: activities must not interfere with a faculty member’s obligations to the University.
- Categories I & II: activities must be reported annually.
- Categories I & II: activities together must not exceed 39 days (Academic Year employees) (and one day per week in summer if receiving University summer compensation) or 48 days (Fiscal Year employees), unless there is prior approval from the Vice Chancellor, Academic Personnel. Days not used in one year may not be carried forward to the next year.
- Categories I & II: involving a student in these activities requires prior approval of the Chair.
- Category I: activities must be pre-approved by the Chair, the Dean, and the Vice Chancellor, Academic Personnel. Such approvals are generally for one year but may be granted for a longer term not to exceed five years.
There are no restrictions on the number of days of Category I & II Activity for Academic Year faculty during the summer months if they are not receiving additional University compensation for the summer. If an Academic Year faculty member receives additional University summer compensation, the limit on Outside Professional activities is the equivalent of one day per week during the period in which such compensation is received. The 39-day maximum during the academic year is distinct and separate from the one day per week during the period in which summer compensation is received; and the 39 days may not be averaged into the summer service period.
13. For faculty appointed at less than 100% and at least 50%, what are the time limits applicable to Outside Professional Activities?
Based on the percentage of appointment, the number of days allowed for Outside Professional Activities during the faculty member’s normal University service will be prorated, provided that the faculty member has otherwise fulfilled his or her obligations to the University. In addition, the faculty member may engage in additional Outside Professional Activities during the time not committed to the University.
14. What is a “Day” for purposes of Conflict of Commitment Policy?
The Academic Personnel Manual gives a flexible definition to the word “day,” stating that the term “is defined using common sense and customary practice,” and may vary by discipline. Faculty members are responsible for keeping track of chunks of time devoted to outside professional activities.
15. What kinds of teaching are covered by this policy?
- Any sustained teaching or teaching with an appointment or for compensation at another institution is Category I and requires pre-approval.
- Additional Teaching at UC counts toward the time limits on Category I & II Outside Professional Activities. Additional Teaching at UC means any teaching for: (1) UNEX; (2) University-run continuing educational programs; (3) University self-supporting degree programs outside a faculty member’s normal assigned teaching load; and (4) Summer Session if one is otherwise receiving University summer compensation. See APM 025-10-a-2(a); APM 025-8-c; APM 661.
Faculty necessarily engage in research wherever the sources/data may be found and wherever relevant colleagues are available. However, this policy treats such research as a Category I activity if a faculty member: (1) seeks to administer a contract or grant through an institution other than the University of California; (2) holds an (other than extremely brief or honorific) appointment at or is compensated by another institution (other than UCLA); or (3) otherwise participates in research under the auspices of another institution as judged by such considerations as whether the research occurs while in-residence at the other institution and the non-UC institution has claims on the resulting intellectual property or attribution.
- Category I Activities include: employment outside the University; holding an executive or managerial position outside the University other than in a professional society; or active and sustained involvement in founding or co-founding a company (as distinct from receiving equity solely in exchange for a capital investment or merely signing or filing legal organizational documents).
- Category II Activities include: consulting or testifying as an expert or professional witness; providing outside consulting services or compensated referrals; engaging in professional practice as an individual or through a single-member professional corporation or sole proprietorship; serving on a Board of Directors outside of the University other than uncompensated service on the board of a non-profit; and providing or presenting a workshop for business.
- Category III Activities include: serving on government or professional panels or committees or as an officer or board member of a professional or scholarly society; reviewing manuscripts or acting in an editorial capacity for an outside professional entity; attending and presenting talks at university/academic colloquia and conferences; accepting honoraria for scholarly, intellectual, educational, or outreach activities; and receiving prizes (i.e. gifts in recognition of personal achievements and not for services rendered).
A faculty member involving a student in Category I & II Outside Professional Activities, whether or not for compensation, has the responsibility to ensure that the student’s participation in such activities does not interfere with the student’s academic obligations and progression. If the faculty member has, or expects to have, academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory) for the student, the faculty member must obtain prior written approval from the Department Chair for student involvement in the activity. The involvement of a student in the activity of a faculty member must not affect, positively or negatively, the faculty member’s evaluation of the student’s performance in any other context.
COMPLIANCE WITH THE POLICY
Seek advice, and any necessary prior approval, from your department or other knowledgeable and authorized University personnel.
20. What are the consequences of failure to comply with this policy?
Department Chairs will monitor (and assure) compliance with this policy by collecting and reviewing annual reports of Category I & II Activities and will consult with the Dean and Vice Chancellor of Academic Personnel about any concerns. (The Dean will review the Department Chair’s own individual annual report each year.) In addition, when submitting dossiers for personnel actions, Chairs must certify that the faculty member under consideration has filed all Conflict of Commitment reports for the applicable period. Annual reports on Outside Professional Activities are due to Department Chairs by November 1st. Submissions should be made to their Dean's Office (not to APO).
Faculty will be out of compliance if they: (1) for Category I activities, fail to obtain prior written approval; (2) for Category I & II Activities, fail to obtain prior written approval for involving a student, fail to comply with time limits, or fail to accurately disclose and describe the nature and scope of the activities; or (3) otherwise fail to adhere to this policy.
Failure to comply with this policy may subject a faculty member to discipline, corrective action, or administrative remedies under APM 016 (University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline) and APM 150 (Non-Senate Academic Appointees/Corrective Action and Dismissal).
21. Where can I find the Conflict of Commitment Scenarios?
The Scenarios are available at:
22. Who can I contact if I have more questions?
Should you have any questions, please contact Michael Simidjian at email@example.com.
Web page updated 4/12/21